So, it’s that time of year again, and many people take advantage of the inevitable slow down at work leading up to the holidays. Predictable right?


What if you approached the holiday season from a different angle? What if you took this time to make progress in your career rather than just kicking back with some eggnog? What if you took the time to about that new job you’ve been wanting to apply for or improve on your current one?


While everyone else is busy figuring out what gifts to buy, take advantage of the breathing space to think and make your next move, reflect on where you are in your career, and research what’s out there.


If you intend on networking, focus on the companies you’ve researched and show up at their holiday cocktail parties to network and gather tangible data to use when deciding on your next move.


Give your career a boost over the holidays and do set yourself up for a strong start in the New Year.


1) Make a List of all your great accomplishments of the past year

The end of the year is the perfect time to pause and revisit everything that you were involved in throughout the year. Have you grown from these experiences? Have you learned new things? Did you hit the targets you had set last year?  Did you follow through on your goals? Even if you’re not job hunting, understanding what you’ve contributed can give you an extra incentive to go and ask for that promotion or raise you feel you deserve.


Next, make a list of all the challenges you faced, if and how they were solved. List anything from internal conflict with co-workers, dealing with a dissatisfied or difficult client, persuading the head of your department why a certain investment was more important than another. Any and all challenges that cause you to re-visit your skill sets and apply a new angle for a better outcome.


2) Make a list of what you want AND don’t want

Consider if you are fully applying your full skillset in your present job. What position would better serve you where you can serve better with your skillset? Identify what is most important to you and your role so you can make the necessary decisions about how you to position yourself in your career. Are flexible hours important to you? What is your preferred salary? Do wish to travel?


What you don’t want is just as important to identify. Once the pros and cons are identified, you are ready to seek the job that has the right fit for you. On that aligns you with greater purpose, passion and title, because we know how important that is.


3) Get your resume and online profile in order

Over and above including past accomplishments, your resume should be forward-looking by including a powerful personal statement.  This is where you demonstrate how your career goals are in alignment with the goals of the companies you are applying for.

Keep your social media profile clean and updated for maximum visibility. According to one survey, 95% of recruiters use social media as a tool to source candidates. Use some of your extra downtime over the holidays to make sure all of your details are up to date.


4) Network, Network, Network  

Since you’ll be interacting with a wide variety of people at upcoming holiday events sneak a little networking in and make new contacts. Keep an open mind while you socialize, don’t be shy about discussing your plans for the future. Use it as an opportunity to let people know that you’re in the market for a new job. Sending holiday greeting cards can also be a good way to get back in touch with old colleagues or former bosses and clients.


5) Giving back feels good, and gets you noticed

The holidays are about doing good and thinking about others.  Believe it or not, making time to help others this holiday season can also benefit your career.  Whether helping out at a fundraiser, coordinating an event or volunteering, these are all great ways to expand your network, hone your skills, and gain experience, while also enhancing your resume.   The key is to look for volunteering opportunities that are somehow related to your field of expertise, as this will help you gain the right kind of experience while also meeting people in your industry.


Hoping these tips help you navigate and prepare for a more prosperous New Year. Remember, ambition never sleeps, so take advantage of someone else’s down time to propel your life into a better future.

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